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Poster: billydlions Date: Dec 14, 2009 3:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

So the lsd and coke were beneficial to his playing from 1968-1974? Perhaps it was but what's your point Cliff? Certainly the persian and other ailments were detrimental to Jerry's playing, which became very apparent in 1983 (timing was not as good, sloppiness, etc which Phil discusses in his book). On the other hand persian may have had some positive effect early on as it relaxed Jerry (also in one of the books I read). In fact in the early 80's Jerry sat around, did his persian and played his guitar for hours at a time. Like I said above, everyones bias of favorite era will influence their answer. Is it surprising that Tell said the early years and Grendel said 1977? Or me saying 1981?

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Dec 14, 2009 4:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

"what's your point Cliff?"

My point is very simple:

Due to Jerry's addiction and deteriorating health, his skills and musicianship suffered a consistant and steady, almost unabated decline from 1978 onward. This is indisputable!

light into ashes solicited you all for examples that this is not fact and nobody here has provided any! NOT ONE!

"Is it surprising that Tell said the early years and Grendel said 1977? Or me saying 1981?"

Not surprising that Tell knows that the music during the early years was superior, he attended many epic performances during this era. But I'm certainly surprised when I see anyone claim the band was better during the 80's and 90's.

Just because you all spent a ton of time and money attending shows during the 1980's and 90's, doesnt change the fact that Jer was a junkie and the music suffered a great deal as a result of this!

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Poster: suasponte Date: Dec 15, 2009 8:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Only Cliff knows the true truth

Cliff has officially mandated his opinion as "THE TRUTH" at this point. Again.
Who even listens to your idiocy anymore cliff? Seriously.
We get it!!! You like what you like, and only what you like!!!
Must you hoist your main sail on us all constantly? Or can some people have different opinions than you?

I bet if you weren't on this site, constantly hum-bugging everyone, there would be no other forums!
You are the E. Scrooge of deadheads.


This post was modified by suasponte on 2009-12-15 16:10:06

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Dec 15, 2009 8:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Only Cliff knows the true truth

Kochman, I find it uproariously funny that you care so much what I think about your joke of a forum and my opinion of the Grateful Dead's music during the 80's and 90's! Dont you have anything better to do with your time than snipe at me Koch?

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Poster: suasponte Date: Dec 15, 2009 9:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Only Cliff knows the true truth

Here you go again with the kochman accusations - you really are getting to be a broken record there Frodo, or should I say, Gollum!

Thanks for posting a picture of yourself the other day, so we can see that you are as ugly as you portray yourself, you fat little toad. Give up the weed so your girlfriend, who is also your 1st cousin, doesn't drop you like the dead weight you clearly are! Good move, for a man of such desperate straights as yourself. Don't let go of the one woman actually willing to have sex with you, because you WON'T find another, you fat fucker cliff.

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Poster: billydlions Date: Dec 14, 2009 6:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

"Due to Jerry's addiction and deteriorating health, his skills and musicianship suffered a consistant and steady, almost unabated decline from 1978 onward. This is indisputable!"

Wow, I guess you're the Al Gore of Garcia's guitar playing! The debate has been settled. So who has it right, Tell or Grendel? And let's not forget that Garcia was a junkie in the 70's, just with different drugs.

I never claimed he was better in the 90's (or most of the 80's). Just because the Dead were no longer interested in the big improvisational jams doesn't mean he lost his chops as a guitar player. As for examples for LIA, his solos on Sugaree, Jack Straw, Birdsong, Cumberland, Deal (and many more) were just as good if not better than the early versions. I'm glad to reference specific examples but they've been posted here many times. His work with JGB is nothing short of amazing in spring 1980, spring 1981, fall 1981. The acoustic sets in 1980 (and his soloing) were excellent. Remember, the question was not when was Jerry singing best or when the GD was at their best but when was his guitar playing skills the best. Perhaps we have a different opinion of what defines this.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 14, 2009 6:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

Hey BD--you are probably onto something with "what defines guitar playing skills?" and I certainly appreciate others that have played providing more insight than I can (which is in part due to my biases as you note).

But, I do feel that the generalities that one can draw with some confidence are along the following lines.

First, vocally, due to smoking, etc., the voice declined over time. Fact (right?). 70 is a real peak for live performances due to all the practice, I think, in the studio. Certainly though he could sing into the 80s in the studio though, but in general, it declines.

Second, song-writing. I think it is relatively clear that volume and quality favor the first half of the trip and maybe even the first ten yrs (65-75). They just don't do that much in latter yrs.

Third, and your focus, guitar playing. Here's where it gets tricky; I do believe the notion of practice making perfect, or exposure to multiple influences, or whatever can lead one to imagine a player would get better over the first 10-20 yrs of playing...but I do think there is a physical side, and that hands/arthritis/whatever can also be working against that...Unfortunately, since style, tone, guitars and interests change over time, no one just keeps playing the same way over time for us to easily evaluate the matter (ie, your biases point comes into play even moreso; witness how someone might say latter day StSt's are more complex or difficult and I say "gag!" or whatever).

For what it's worth, I actually pick the years outside of my era for his peak in playing: 72-74, due to input from guitar players and the notion that it did take him 10 solid yrs of playing to achieve along the practice makes perfect lines...I don't like these yrs nearly as much, but concede he is better in them than during my years in which energy and youthful exuberance carries the day.

Also, I do think that the allusion to LSD vs heroin is misplaced. In the early era, at least according to what I've read, Jerry did not often play while "high" and certainly not to the degree he did in the 80s...dunno, but that's what I've read.

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Poster: billydlions Date: Dec 14, 2009 7:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

Tell,

I agree with the first 2 points about singing and writing, no argument there. The arthritis issue, I believe, became more of an issue later on and for that reason I totally disagree with the other poster who though Jerry was just as good right to the end (no chance in hell!) 1972-1974 were the Coke years as documented in numerous books (Scully for sure), so maybe the LSD was overstated, but certainly other drugs were consumed in large quantities at that time. Persian without a doubt took it's toll on Garcia, but a few books (again maybe Scully or even Blair Jackson) did note that it had a calming effect on Garcia. Watching videos from the 1980 Radio City shows, or 3-28-81 in Germany show Garcia playing at a very high level (watch them for yourself). Once again I'm not saying the music was better, just that Jerry was playing very well, night after night. By 1983 the persian effect started to take a turn for the worse and it had the opposite effect. 1977 is viewed by many as being their best year (Grendel will agree, right?) and Garcia was smacked out this entire year. For whatever reason 1978-1979 was a down period for him (largely Keith related?) but by fall of 1979 Garcia seemed to clean up and elevated his game (addition of Brent?). I'm pretty sure Blair Jackson made this point, and the music certainly reflects it.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 14, 2009 8:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

Oh yeah--re: coke...forgot to mention for me, early era means 65-71...I just recall some mention of those periods as being a time when they didn't play high (acid, etc.) as much as folks thought...

But, like you, in and of itself, properly managed (??? but seriously!), I can see some drug use actually being beneficial, or certainly not a negative issue...it was just that post 78 or so, with the diet, smoking (really a big problem since it was so dramatic in terms of amt/"quality"), and then the negatives of those kinds of drugs (lethargy when overdone, etc.) he was favoring at the time that he was certain to begin declining.

So, yeah--I could see some rationale for real quality playing in 81; would think that overall it was the exception though if that makes sense...

Oh, forgot: of course I am right and Grendel is wrong. He is only a "Gandhi, JG" while I recently rated a promotion to "Gandhi, with Fasting Clusters"...

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Poster: yur worst enemy too Date: Dec 14, 2009 10:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

"...so was Billy Holiday, Keith Ferguson, Ray Charles,Eddy Fisher, Charlie Parker, SRV, Buddy Ace, Erykah Badu.... etc. etc. etc... but I believe China White was the knodd. Infact, America was invaded in the search for a quicker opium route for the Italians during the 15th century. This is why the world is flat."

-American Gangster 1992

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKCnHWas3HQ

This post was modified by yur worst enemy too on 2009-12-15 06:04:11

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Poster: dcain Date: Mar 6, 2010 4:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

I've found some memorable work by Garcia in 1980 and 1981 (and certainly '79). But not in the quantity or concentration of peak moments I've found from Spring '77 through Spring '78.

His transformation of Deal, with an extended solo at the end, began in 1980, and was often powerful. The Bird Songs from 1980 and 1981 featured some good improvisation (my favorite from that period is probably Cole Field House, 3-7-81, where he comes up with brand new motifs and themes and sustains the invention over a long stretch).

I also think more of his best playing between 1980 and 1982 began to occur within the Garcia Band. One example is a near nine-minute workout on Let It Rock 2-17-80 (SUNY Oswego). There are some things he does in those solos, to my ears, that are every bit as powerful, inventive and compelling as in years earlier.

Many musicians and bands go through changes over time. Clapton created quintessential solos from '66-'71 (Hideaway, Crossroads, Key to the Highway, to name a few). Still a great player in 1980, and 1990. But it would be hard to find a similar concentration of absolutely stunning recorded solos that compare to those earlier years.

Perhaps the 70s vs. 80s vs. 90s comes down to just a matter of preference for a certain style of play. We all resonate to different tuning forks. I recall encountering fans for whom anything post-Pigpen wasn't worth listening to. Really.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 14, 2009 9:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

Some good points here - obviously I'm quite biased towards the early psychedelic-improv years, so it's easy for me to point to some '72/73 jam and say "but he never did THAT later!" But I'm willing to lend an ear to the '80s to try to see how he developed - though perhaps in a different direction than I might have liked - which is why I asked the questions.
One very good point is that his playing in the JGB and the Dead were kind of on two parallel tracks that didn't converge - he seems to have adopted a different 'style' for JGB shows, which could be more 'natural' Jerry especially in the later years, but it means that folks looking at his guitar skills will have to be familiar with JGB shows over the years. Not a given on a Dead forum!....for one, I'm woefully still not up on this.

I agree that some SONGS became better into the '80s (what happened to, for example, Deal or Stella Blue in '81 was marvelous), and he could certainly fire off blazing solos and nonstop lightning-fast runs. Sometimes this seems like he's not giving enough emotional space in the notes, but just running in place - it's like a rewind to '68 almost, when he's giving everything a hard fast attack. (And the difference in his tone, which is very important, is another 'bias' of many folks.)
But what's tricky is pointing to a solo in, say, a Peggy-o, and saying, "he didn't do THAT in '73!" Because if you play a song hundreds of times over a decade, you're (hopefully) going to get better at it & find new nuances to bring out....but there is a flip side, the sides of his playing that he did early on but then dropped. On top of that, the Dead constantly went through major stylistic changes which make it hard to directly compare a '73 vs. '83 tune.
....which is part of why I find this an unanswerable question, but an interesting one to chew on....

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2009-12-15 05:27:20